You are here

2020 Board of Directors Election

PMI Minnesota Chapter members are invited to vote in the 2020 Board of Directors election from 8:00 a.m. on Monday, September 9, 2019 through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 20, 2019. We welcome your participation. Every vote counts!

Electronic voting: 

Access to the electronic ballot will be available via an email link.

Candidate bios:

Candidate nominees are listed below. You may select your favorite candidates by marking your choices carefully from the email link received.

Election results:Results will be broadcast in the October newsletter. Please contact the Nominating Committee with any questions.

2020 Board of Directors serving existing terms:

2020 President Sara Swanson, PMP®, CSM (current 2019 President-Elect) (2nd of 3-year term)
2020 Past President Janice Pyka (current 2019 President) (3rd of 3-year term)
2020 Director of Governance Geraldine Marks, PMP® (2nd of 2-year term)
2020 Director at Large Michael O’Connor, Ph.D., PMP®, PGMP®, IPMA-B, NPDP (2nd of 2-year term)
2020 Director at Large Alisha Walter, PMP® (2nd of 2-year term)

2020 Board of Directors Nominees:


Ruth Birkholz, PMP®, MMIS
Geraldine Marks, PMP®, MBA, CSM
Alisha Walter, PMP®, CSM, CSPO​

Director of Finance:

Manish Kalra, PMP®, MBA, CSM

Director at Large: (2 positions available)

Devi Chetty, PMP®
Jacque Ince
Marlaina Love
Michelle Wilson

President-Elect - The 2020 (3-Year Term)

President-Elect serves a three-year term moving from President-Elect and Chief Operating Officer (2020) to President (2021) and then to Past President (2022).

Ruth Birkholz, PMP®, MMIS

Name: Ruth Birkholz, PMP®, MMIS
Company: US Bank: VP Senior Data Analyst
Running for: President-Elect

My 20-years of experience in Project Management, IT Audit and Data Analytics, as well as my extensive education have prepared me to be a strong, thorough, impactful & savvy leader for the PMI-MN Chapter. My deep engagement with the Chapter has given me a solid understanding of the Chapter’s Strategic needs as well as our financial and technology requirements of how to grow, expand and move forward to continue to build on the Chapter course that has established.

As the 2019 Chair of Professional Development Days (PDD), I have been incredibly engaged as a Chapter leader who believes in empowering the team leaders to lead the areas in which they are personally responsible for. Being a key volunteer and leader with the Chapter has been thoroughly enjoyable. I have especially valued the time I have spent mentoring and collaborating with members of the PDD team. Together we have planned and will deliver an amazingly successful PDD Event. I have also cherished the time spent learning and growing from Chapter Board Members and my counterparts within Operations. The PDD committee volunteers I have been entrusted to lead continue to amaze and enlighten me with their experiences and have helped me be the most effective Committee Leader I can be.

My vision in the role as the Chapter’s 2020 President Elect is to provide a strong Operating Committee to ensure that PMI MN continues to thrive and flourish as a leading Chapter in the Project Management Industry as well as within our Region2 and to help others grow by mentoring, collaborating and sharing successes.

Geraldine Marks, PMP®, MBA, CSM

Name: Geraldine Marks, PMP®, MBA, CSM
Company: HealthPartners Inc.
Running for: President-Elect

IS&T Snr. Project Manager at HP. With fourteen years of business & information technology experience in, project management, leadership, business analysis, strategic planning and team building in multiple industries and different sized organizations, I would like to continue to participate in the leadership of Minnesota PMI.

As Director of Governance, I have played a key role in providing chapter governance, active in board meeting, chapter meeting, and Professional Development Day. I grew and learned a lot from PMI by learning more about project management; participating in the leadership of PMI; and by expanding my network of professionals to share ideas with.

My vision is to continue to promote transparency, build an organization where people come to expand their learning capacities through sharing ideas and experiences about project management methods with fellow members, their organization, and academic institutions. I will advocate reinvesting our funds, to allow the chapter to develop programs/events that gives back to our members.

My approach to leadership is a collaborative, respectful style where everyone’s opinion is heard. I would like to empower the team so that they:

1) Feel engaged and heard by seeking insight on best practices from our past presidents with the establishment of an advisory committee.
2) Will be excited about teaching/sharing their knowledge by employing local talents to teach at our classes and events.
3) Develop programs that allow our members to learn project management in a volunteer setting.

I am passionate about the role and would love the opportunity to execute my vision for the chapter.

Thank you for the consideration.

Alisha Walter, PMP®, CSM, CSPO

Name: Alisha Walter, PMP®, CSM, CSPO
Company: Prime Therapeutics
Running for: President-Elect

Sr IT Project Manager at Prime Therapeutics with excellent interpersonal and leadership skills for driving business value through complex IT projects and programs. Current PMI Director at Large, looking to continue driving the MN Chapter from a strategic perspective. I will continue to seek to provide mentoring and leadership benefits to aspiring project management professionals looking to increase their skillset.

As Director at Large, I’ve had the opportunity to engage at a mentor level, providing guidance to professionals aspiring to take the next steps in their careers by increasing their knowledge in the Project Management field. I am skilled at soliciting strong engagement from a leadership perspective, teaching PMP Prep and engaging at student conferences.

My vision is to continue mentoring project management professionals through PMP preparation, tailored guidance to increase a mentee’s project management acumen, and instilment of core PMI values to set up aspiring professionals for success.

My approach to leadership:

1) To be an excellent leader, you must be an excellent follower
2) Celebrate the success of your team’s accomplishments
3) Active engagement and proactive follow ups ensure teams stay on track and share a collective understanding

Director of Finance (2-Year Term)

Manish Kalra, PMP®, MBA, CSM

Name: Manish Kalra, PMP®, MBA, CSM

Company: HealthPartners

Running for: Director of Finance

Performance oriented IT professional with exceptional skills in formulating technology and process initiatives, leading all aspects of a project implementation using PMI guidelines, to deliver best outcomes. Solid track record of delivering service, to exceed business and quality expectations, leading the teams by using accountability, self-motivation and customer experience as guiding principles.

Currently working as a Sr. Project Manager at HealthPartners, Manish is responsible for overall execution of large capital projects with clinical background. Outside of HealthPartners, Manish is very active in the community and is part of a few Nonprofit boards like One Heartland, and PMI-MN Chapter. Manish also holds a seat at the Diversity and Inclusion council at HealthPartners, where he actively advocates for the wellbeing of a diverse group of employees, members and patients. Manish has a flair for cooking, and Volunteers at a few nonprofits to raise funds using his skills. Due to his volunteer work in the community, Manish was recently recognized by Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal as the “2019 Business of Pride Honoree”.

My vision is to give back to our members, the knowledge, tools and resources they need to excel in the profession of project management. I also want to bring a holistic approach to the chapter, where every member feels welcomed and valued, despite their opinions and constraints. As a current board member, I have been able to successfully establish creative partnerships between PMI-MN and various local organizations, to spread the outreach of our chapter and provide better learning opportunities to more members in our community, and will continue to build on that.

My approach to leadership is to:

1) Use self-motivation as a guiding principle for accountability
2) Create new leaders for chapter, every day.
3) Listen to everyone, and learn and share my experiences

Thank you

Director at Large (2-Year Term) 2 positions open

Devi Chetty, PMP®

Name: Devi Chetty, PMP®
Company: Federal Reserve Bank, Director, Software Development
Running for: Director at Large

I have over 18 years of experience in Project Management and IT leadership in the Financial industry. Over the course of my IT career, I have successfully managed large enterprise level business and technology projects. I enjoy every aspect of working on projects – meeting new people, issue resolution, problem solving and people management. I was nominated to the MN chapter board in 2019 and thoroughly enjoyed being part of PMI leadership. I would like to be considered again for the 2020 board.

I have been an active member of the board over the last few months, attending and participating in all board meetings. I am also a volunteer instructor for the PMP prep course. I have gained a lot from being a member of the PMI & MN chapter board and I would like to continue to pay it forward.

I am excited to be part of the chapter and my hope is that everybody feels the same way. My vision is to create an environment where PMs not only come to learn and network but can do that with the utmost confidence and trust in its leadership.

My strengths include relationship management, navigating confrontational work environments, managing multiple priorities and career advancement planning. My leadership style is one where everyone feels included and heard. I want to make sure people understand the ‘why’ behind what we are doing so they can behind the cause and be fully engaged.

Jacque Ince

Name: Jacque Ince
Running for: Director at Large

  • PMI-MN Member
  • 2019 PDD Speaker Team Committee Lead
  • Attend Monthly Committee Lead Meetings – 2019 PDD
  • Host Monthly Speaker Committee Meetings – 2019 PDD
  • Attend Numerous PMI-MN Events

I have served eight years in a Project Management professional role that has spanned over Marketing, Information Technology, Global Operations, & Quality Management. I currently manage H.B. Fuller’s Global CapEx Budget, as well as their North America M&A synergy growth objectives. H.B. Fuller has a set EBITDA synergy growth initiative that involves heavy project management best practices. Finally, I am a part of the H.B. Fuller Global Operations Leadership Team, which provides industry best practices in Operations Excellence.

As a Director at Large I will continue to carry on the quality reputations that PMI-MN has built & represent the chapter with integratory & respect. I will use my diverse background in formulating various strategies for H.B. Fuller & implement it into an applicable strategy to help PMI-MN evolve into the future of project management.

My leadership approach is heavily revolved around collaboration. I highly value the input of others as it generates an expanded set of ideas in my thought process. I try to liberate those that I lead so that they feel empowered, yet have an affirmative direction to accomplish the set of goals at hand. I believe being clear & concise in my direction, while paying attention to details, enables the team to efficiently identify solutions & implement a successful plan.

Marlaina Love

Name: Marlaina Love
Company: Horizontal Integration
Running for: Director at Large

Within the last five years, Marlaina has led and implemented projects in the IT sector, supporting organizations in Education, Retail, Medical Device, and Supply Chain/Manufacturing industries. She began her career in customer service/technical support and worked her way up through project, program, and portfolio management. Marlaina continues to influence continuous improvement initiatives and implement technological solutions.

During her collegiate career, Marlaina served as President of the local AMIS Chapter, sat on the MIS Council Advisory Board, and volunteered for the PMI-Memphis Chapter. Under her leadership, she implemented programs that increased awareness of the IT field, engaged students in career opportunities, and introduced project management to her university.

Her vision for this role is to expand on the membership engagement and retention. This position allows her to engage directly with current and prospective members, maximizing the true PMI-MN Chapter experience. Marlaina has an eye for continuous improvement and growth, which in turns enables her to innovate and bring real, long-term solutions to the organization.

Approach to leadership is to:

1. leverage all project management resources
2. be a keen listener and observer
3. be proactive when necessary to enhance the organizational experience

Michelle Wilson

Name: Michelle Wilson
Company: State of Minnesota
Running for: Director at Large

Proud Female Veteran of the Unites States Army Reserve. PMI Minnesota Membership Chair- 2018, Military Outreach Liaison, Volunteer of the Year 2018. Represented PMI MN at Career Fairs, Trade Shows and Charity Golf Events and provided support during Professional Development Days. Currently serving in the role of IT Project Manager at the State of Minnesota supporting the Department of Human Services since May 2018. Prior to the State of Minnesota, spent 15 years working at The Hartford working my way up from an Administrative Assistant to a Project Manager.

My vision if I am so honored to be elected Director at Large, will be to continue to grow the Military Outreach program by developing a Project Management Network of Veterans to help mentor, coach, and train Veterans who have a desire to pursue a career in Project Management. In addition to the Veteran’s program, I hope to bring a skill set of private and public sector project management to PMI Minnesota Members.

My approach to leadership is to empower the team so that they:

1) build confidence in their individual skills in Project Management
2) provide an open environment where questions are always welcome
3) put the fun back in Project and Portfolio Management is a positive environment